Current Affairs

RSPCA says it will continue to prosecute, despite EFRA report

On November 16, 2016, the RSPCA issued a response to an EFRA Committee report which recommended that the RSPCA passes animal abuse cases to the CPS to prosecute.

The statement said:

“The RSPCA today reassured supporters that it will continue its long history of prosecuting horrific cases of animal abuse and neglect despite calls to the contrary by a small number of MPs.

“A parliamentary enquiry launched to examine the effectiveness and enforcement of animal welfare laws has recommended dozens of positive measures to help improve the lives of animals, including tackling the growing legal and illegal puppy trade which has meant life long suffering for huge numbers of puppies and dogs

“However one recommendation, which members of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee failed to reach a consensus on, was a suggestion that the RSPCA should not be able to prosecute animal cruelty cases in England and Wales.

“RSPCA chief executive, Jeremy Cooper, said: “Overall this is a very sensible report with lots of progressive measures to improve animal welfare. We do not agree with the recommendation that the RSPCA should no longer prosecute. We are extremely proud of our near 200 years of experience investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty and our 92% success rate – which is currently a higher percentage than the CPS.

“Our research shows that 89% of the general public back our prosecutions work and they will be confused why a small number of MPs would suggest stopping the RSPCA carrying out a role which we are very good at and which is paid for by public donations rather than out of taxes.

“This recommendation is not supported by the Government, vets, other major animal welfare charities, and local authorities, and flies in the face of the majority of evidence put before the committee.

“We will consider this report carefully while we will continue prosecute those who starve, beat, stab, burn and abuse animals.  For us the key test will be if the recommendation improves animal welfare and we suspect the answer in this case would probably be no.”

The RSPCA also issued a statement from charities including Dogs Trust, PDSA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Redwings, Blue Cross, World Horse Welfare and Cats Protection, saying: “As animal welfare organisations that can come across horrendous cruelty cases on a daily basis, we fully recognise the positive work the RSPCA undertakes to secure prosecutions under the Animal Welfare Act.

“If this was ceased we would have serious concerns about who else would take forward such prosecutions.

“The RSPCA does a very good job investigating and securing convictions through private prosecutions for a large number of animal welfare cases. Without the RSPCA, it is likely that the vast majority of these cases would never be investigated.

“As such, we would not support any move to reduce the role of the RSPCA, who make an invaluable contribution to safeguarding animal welfare across England and Wales and ensuring legislation is enforced.”

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